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Make Time for Summer Fun in Whittier!

by The Domis Team

Is your summer speeding by? Don't worry, there's still time to enjoy summer fun in Whittier! Mark your calendar with these affordable family outings:

Hit the pool and relax at Palm Park. Recreational swim sessions are open 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., 7 days a week, for only $2.00 per person. The pool is open through August 26, and is also open Labor Day weekend.

Enjoy beautiful California evenings with a concert in the park! Central Park has concerts on Monday nights, August 6 and 13. Parnell Park concerts are on Thursday nights, August 9 and 16. From rock, blues, jazz and more, the musical variety will keep your toes tapping! Admission is free! Bring your own chair or blanket. For a list of the upcoming bands, visit the City of Whittier Parks & Recreation page.

The Whittier Farmer's Market runs year-around, but now is a great time to visit for special items like heirloom tomatoes! Find local, in-season produce along with cage-free eggs and specialty foods. The farmers welcome your questions and are happy to educate you about their products. The market runs each Friday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., and is located at 13018 Philadelphia Street.

Don't miss the 12th Annual Uptown Whittier Car Show, Saturday August 18! From custom cruisers to classic muscle and vintage antiques, this show has it all. Admission is free to the public! Live music is included, and you can purchase delicious food from local restaurant vendors.

We are proud to be a part of Whittier! Our community offers a wonderful quality of life, and we encourage you to enjoy our hometown events.

When you are thinking of buying or selling a home, get the local expertise you can trust! Here at the Domis Team, we have the latest Whittier real estate market information for you. Whether you are relocating, "just looking" or ready to move, we can help! Contact us today for friendly, professional service and the best in local experience!

The Domis Team
Prudential California Realty
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Property Tax Tips for Whittier Homeowners

by The Domis Team

For some homeowners in California, property tax bills are on the rise. Homeowners in appreciating markets have been surprised to discover that Proposition 13 is not preventing tax bill hikes above 2%. Thanks to a subsequent Proposition, assessors who reduce values during a market decline are allowed levy increases above 2% as markets recover. In short, it's a little-known loophole allowing taxing authorities to play catch-up.

In Whittier, we are neither at the top nor the bottom of the Los Angeles County tax rates, and our home values have appreciated moderately. While we may not have the tax bill shock that other California cities are experiencing, there are property tax tips every homeowner should know.

1. Claim your exemptions. You may be eligible for a Homeowner's Exemption on your primary residence that could spare $7,000 from your assessed value. There are also exemptions for Veterans, Disabled Veterans, and Disaster Relief. Visit the Los Angeles County Property Tax Portal to see all exemptions and forms.

2. Speak up if your home value has declined. While home prices are starting to rise, values can be affected by the proximity of foreclosures, neighboring blight, ect. If your home value has dropped since your last assessment, you can apply for a Decline in Value Review.

3. Understand your assessed tax value and question it when necessary. The tax rate itself cannot be changed, but the assessed value of your home can be a matter of opinion. If you believe your tax assessed value is far rosier than actual market value, contact the Assessor's Office. Have information ready to back up your case.

Keep in mind that your home's value for property tax assessments may not match a comparative market analysis, or a bank appraisal. Each type of valuation has a different objective in mind, and therefore approaches value with different methods.

As your Whittier real estate market experts, we're here to help you! If you are thinking of buying or selling a home, turn to the Domis Team. We have the latest Whittier home sales data and market trends for you, plus the experience you can count on! Contact us today for friendly, professional service!

The Domis Team
Prudential California Realty
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5 Home Insurance Tips for Whittier!

by The Domis Team

The Wall Street Journal reports that home insurance costs are on the rise, with policy deductibles trending towards percentage-based sums across the country. California homeowners are used to percentage-based deductibles for earthquake coverage, but the climb in premiums and deductibles is unwelcome news.

Since California effectively bans the use of insurance risk scores in home insurance premiums, having good credit doesn't necessarily lower your costs. Still, there are some things you can do to make sure your Whittier home insurance coverage is priced fairly while providing ample protection.

1. Understand your policy. Too often homeowners assume that they are covered for all situations, when in reality they may own a very basic fire coverage policy. Depending on your location, coverage for windstorm damage, sewer backups, hail and mudslides could be needed.

2. Avoid small claims that could raise your premium. This is especially true if your deductible is large.  If you can afford to make the repairs, you could be better off than making the claim and enduring higher premiums.  

3. Do your homework. The California Department of Insurance offers a wealth of information for homeowners and renters. There is also a premium comparison guide to help you compare pricing.

4. Avoid being underinsured. The replacement cost of your home could far exceed the current market value! Material costs and labor expenses continue to rise, even if your market value hasn't changed.

5. Last resort coverage through the California Fair Plan is available for homeowners who have been unable to obtain a policy through normal means.

Having good insurance protection for your Whittier home is essential! Not only will you have better peace of mind, you'll be able to bounce back quicker from any unexpected events, while limiting the strain on your finances.

As your Whittier real estate market experts, we're happy to share information for your benefit! If you are thinking of buying or selling a home, turn to the Domis Team. We have the latest Whittier home sales data and market trends for you, plus the experience you can count on! Contact us today - we'll be happy to help!

The Domis Team
Prudential California Realty
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What Do Whittier Home Buyers Want?

by The Domis Team

Home buyers have practical priorities in the Whittier real estate market. Bigger is not always better; fixer-uppers are not in vogue, and home value is everything. Home buyers have become highly selective due to economic concerns and tighter mortgage lending. Homes that are energy-efficient and affordable have stronger appeal than the mini-mansions of the past.

Now that most mortgage loans require larger down payments, home buyers may also find themselves limited in purchase power. California homes under $350,000 tend to sell quickly; homes priced under $500,000 have buyer competition.

Here’s more about what home buyers want, courtesy of ImprovementCenter.com:

Modest floor plans. Most home buyers consider homes sized at 2,000 square feet to be adequate for their needs. The next most popular size is 2,600 square feet. Home builders are paying attention to the shrinking home trend; the average new home size is expected to be 2,152 square feet by the year 2015.

Organization and comfort. Home buyers are looking for low-emittance windows, insulation throughout the home, energy-efficient appliances and programmable thermostats. Amenities such as 9-ft ceilings, laundry rooms, walk-in closets and well-appointed master baths are popular.

Improved energy efficiency. Plentiful natural light, energy-conserving appliances, and efficient mechanicals make for an affordable, greener home. It’s predicted that by 2016, 38% of new homes will be built with “being green” as the selling point.

Whittier home sellers do not need to make expensive renovations to attract today’s buyers! Simple updates like replacing old kitchen appliances, and installing water-saving faucets and shower heads can help give your home green appeal. To expand the sense of space in your home, remove clutter and allow in as much natural light as possible.

At the Domis Team, we understand what appeals to Whittier home buyers, and we understand the Whittier real estate market! If you are thinking of selling your home, contact us first! We will provide you with the best in local market expertise and friendly, professional service!

The Domis Team
Prudential California Realty
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The Homeowner Bill of Rights will put California at the forefront of anti-foreclosure legislation, if the bill is signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown. The passage would be hailed as a victory for California homeowners, while mortgage lenders are less enthusiastic about the measure.

Here are the basic points of the proposed law:

Mortgage servicers cannot pursue foreclosure while a loan modification or short sale is being considered. The "dual track" of preparing foreclosure while considering other solutions, sometimes led to the clock running out on homeowners who may have qualified for assistance.

Mortgage servicers cannot begin a foreclosure process against a homeowner until they have provided documentation proving their right to foreclose. In other words, paperwork must be clear when mortgage loans change hands, and the "robo-signing" of documents is prohibited.

Mortgage servicers must provide a single point of contact for distressed homeowners.

The bill provides good protections for homeowners. Meanwhile, lenders warn that unintended consequences may arise from the bill's passage. Namely, mortgages in California could become more selective and expensive, as foreclosure becomes more difficult to accomplish. Foreclosures will take longer to process, potentially slowing the housing recovery. California also had a high number of intentional defaults and "walk-away" borrowers when property values declined, and the bill does not consider this.

Will the Homeowner Bill of Rights affect the Whittier real estate market? If it does, it's unlikely to be significant. Further tightening in mortgage lending practices could slow the market, as could longer foreclosure processes. However, most mortgage lenders have already evolved their practices to be more homeowner-friendly, and should absorb any new requirements without an issue.

The Whittier real estate market can change due to any number of factors, which is why our local expertise is so important in today's market! Whether you are buying or selling a home, our experience and reliability makes the difference. Contact us today for the latest market information! Our friendly, professional team is ready to help you!

The Domis Team
Prudential California Realty
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Photo of Linda & Ryan Domis - The Domis Team Real Estate
Linda & Ryan Domis - The Domis Team
Keller Williams Realty
16310 E. Whittier Blvd. Suite F
Whittier CA 90603
Cell: 562-884-5373
Cell:562-458-6947
Fax: 562.902.5158
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